Drummer Doerner says heart attack changed his life
Tatiana Oscarsson photo
Call it the perils of rock ‘n’ roll excess, or bad habits catching up with you. Either way, Brian Doerner’s scare changed his life.
Two months ago, the Kitchener, Ont.-based drummer and music instructor was about to go on tour with his band Saga when disaster struck. Doerner was in his kitchen and felt his left arm go numb, then he felt a gigantic weight on his chest shortly before collapsing from a heart attack. Luckily enough, his wife was home, called 911 and paramedics arrived to tend to him shortly after.
An operation and a stainless steel stint later, Doerner, one of Canada’s most recognized drummers, decided to revamp his lifestyle. He traded in smoking, drinking and red meat for fruits, vegetables and exercise.
“I thought I was healthier than that,” says Doerner. “I made really bad food choices. Good health is what I’m all about now. Instead of reaching for that bag of salty chips, I’m reaching for a piece of fruit. It was tough at first; you get depressed when you stop all that stuff I used to do, smoking especially. But that goes away the more you get into exercise. I just did some weights and an hour of cardio today and I feel great.”
The Helix drummer isn’t planning to cut down on his time with Saga, either, noting he’ll rejoin the band when they return from their European tour. First thing’s first, however: the departure of Michael Sadler has left the band short one singer, and Doerner says they’re currently auditioning.
In the meantime, he’ll continue to teach music in his hometown and play with twin brother Brent in their band Decibel.
“Everyone I know sent me a lot of get well cards and they were really worried about me,” Doerner said. “But it’s not like I’m dead, you know? I still do everything I used to do. In fact, I’m probably in better shape now than I’ve been in a long time.”